Photo Essay: Wild Oregon

Over the course of 2,500 miles of driving and exploration, photographer Chris Burkard encountered glacial peaks, wild rivers, rain forests, volcanic lakes, historic rock climbs and even the home of The Goonies.

Over the course of 2,500 miles of driving we saw glacial peaks, wild rivers, rain forests, volcanic lakes, historic rock climbing, the home of The Goonies — and we managed to total one car. A memorable trip through Oregon, to say the least. When you think of the Pacific Northwest your mind usually jumps to two things: rain and trees. On this particular trip I got a healthy dose of both, and then some. But I find myself drawn to destinations with harsh weather. These environments, whether the frigid Arctic or rainy Pacific Northwest, force you to work a bit harder for the image. Bad weather keeps the crowds away and also makes for a more unique image.

Uniqueness and variety were around every corner on our road trip with stops at Crater Lake, Smith Rock, and the Columbia River Gorge. The gorge was a place I had always wanted to go because of its incredible waterfalls and lush forests. Torrential downpours tried to ruin our plans, but we went anyway. Hiking through mud in sopping wet clothes alongside a creek, we passed majestic green plants and naturally diffused cloudy skies. Never had I seen trees this green. Each destination offered something just as jaw dropping in its own special way. Browse through these photos to see what I’m talking about.

Chris Burkard is a self-taught photographer and artist based in Central Coast California. His work covers surfing, the outdoors, lifestyle and travel, with images punctuated by energized landscapes and moments of bliss, by adventure-seeking and the lifestyle that ensues. Learn more about his life and photography at and follow him on Instagram @chrisburkard.

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